Explain the difference between sexual harassment, gender discrimination, and sexual orientation discrimination, as those terms are used legally.

Your project requires at least three (3) outside resources besides the textbook. Your paper must be written in APA format, include a title and reference page, and reference your sources both internally (parenthetically) and in the reference page. Please use the APA template in doc-sharing to complete your work.

Employment discrimination law is about prohibiting or encouraging behaviors in the workplace regarding differences in people. It has evolved over the years significantly, and the passage of Title VII, the US. Civil Rights Act, has made more changes to how the US defines the right to work free from harassment and discrimination, than any other law, case, or regulation in the nation. This project has three parts. Part 1 asks you to answer eight questions about employment discrimination. Part 2 asks you to pick one US Supreme court case from a list, to discuss. Part 3 asks you to review pending legislation regarding employment discrimination, and provide a few details about one currently pending (i.e. not yet passed) bill in either your state, or the federal government. Remember, the focus of the project is onemployment discrimination.

Project Part 1:

Answer each of the following 8 questions, in 1-2 paragraphs each. You can use your textbook, or other outside sources to answer these questions. Do not write a book – answer the questions succinctly.

  1. What must a person who is claiming they were harassed in the workplace allege in order to first state a case with the EEOC for each of the following types of harassment:
    1. Sexual harassment – quid pro quo
    2. Sexual harassment – hostile environment
    3. Religious harassment
    4. Racial harassment
  2. Explain the difference between sexual harassment, gender discrimination, and sexual orientation discrimination, as those terms are used legally.
  3. How does GINA protect a person whose mother died of breast cancer from employment discrimination?
  4. Provide one example of a behavior that could be found to be both a hostile environment and quid pro quo forms of sexual harassment at the same time.  Explain how a person could argue that this behavior at work was illegal.
  5. Give the main legal reason why every company should have a valid written policy against all forms of harassment (besides the fact it is the “right” thing to do.)
  6. Can an employer require that only females serve female customers and only males serve male customers?  Explain your answer using legal terms.
  7. How many employees must an employer or company have working for it to be subject to:
    1. the ADA
    2. Pregnancy Discrimination Act
    3. Title VII
    4. IRCA
    5. GINA
  8. Assume you work for a company that has a sexual anti-harassment policy, but not a religious, sexual orientation, or racial anti-harassment policy. Write a one-two paragraph statement to your boss (the HR Director), as to why you believe it would make sense to revamp the policy to include other forms of harassment. Include one example of a real situation where a policy may have protected a company from liability or stopped harassment from happening. (You will find case examples on the EEOC website). Cite that case/situation in your memo to your boss. Provide the amount of damages/fines the company in your example case had to pay as a result of failing to protect an employee from discrimination.

Project Part II.  Employment Discrimination Cases.

Many court cases on employment discrimination have shaped, created, and changed the employment landscape. Some protect employees from discrimination, and many protect employers from liability. Settlements and trial court cases do not create legal precedent or changes in the law. However, appeals court cases, and especially the U.S. Supreme Court Cases, do change, shape, and create new law, when statutes are interpreted in binding ways. Pick ONE case from the following list.  Read the case. Answer each of the FOUR questions following the list of cases and place them in your Project Part II. Be sure to identify WHICH of the cases you selected.

List of U.S. Supreme Court Cases:

Vance v. Ball State University. http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/12pdf/11-556_11o2.pdf

University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center v. Nassar. http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/12pdf/12-484_o759.pdf

Phillips v. Martin Marietta Corp. 400 U.S. 542 (1971). http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/getcase.pl?court=US&vol=400&invol=542

Espinoza v Farah Mfg. Co, 414 U.S. 86 (1973) http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/getcase.pl?court=US&vol=414&invol=86

Oncale v. Sundowner Offshore Services, 83 F. 3d 118 http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/96-568.ZO.html

Questions for answering.

  1. Explain briefly, the statute(s) (law or act) which was in question in your case, the facts of the case, and why the parties were in court. What was each party asking the court to do?
  2. What did the court decide in your case and what will be the results of that decision? (i.e. who won, and was the win final or did the court send the case back to the lower court system to re-decide an issue?)
  3. In what way did this case create, change, or shape the employment landscape for employers as a result of the decision made? Did this change help employers or employees the most? Explain.
  4. Do you agree with the decision in the case you referenced? In other words, do you think that employment law was made better and stronger, or weaker and less effective as a result of this case? Write at least one full paragraph that supports your opinion.

Part 3. Legal Research into an Employment Law Pending Before Congress

Organizations such as the Society for Human Resource Management (http://www.shrm.org)  work hard to support, lobby against, or provide education to the public about laws that will affect workers and employers. These organizations significantly influence what laws pass. Savvy HR managers have SHRM on their desktops so they are familiar with the many changes being suggested at any time, as they could cost companies significant amounts of money if they are passed.

Each year, thousands of proposed laws are being discussed, debated, and either passed, ignored, or rejected in state legislators around the country, or in Congress.

Find a proposed piece of legislation in the U.S. (or your state legislature) which interests you. This piece of legislation needs to regard employment law in some way (labor law, employment discrimination, ADA, PPACA, Title VII, GINA, etc.) Note that any bill that suggests changes to any current law will suffice, as well as a new law. Some examples you can use if you are interested are: the Fair Playing Field Act of 2012, the Religious Freedom Act of 2012, or a new bill regarding whether full-time employment under PPACA is 40 hours/week instead of 30 hours. (Since the time of writing this project, it is possible these examples of passed – be sure to check if you use any of them).

Places to look for legislation like this include:


(Note that the Active Legislation link (right side) and Most Viewed Bills side include unpassed, pending legislation. the Public Laws link are passed laws – so do not use those.)

Govtrack.US https://www.govtrack.us/

Note: you can type in your state, and get updates your state’s representatives to Congress.

SHRM’s legislative pages: http://www.shrm.org/legalissues/federalresources/federallegislation/pages/default.aspx#

(Note that link takes you to the top level – and you can dig around on their links to find more information. Some of the internal pages may require a subscription to SHRM, however.)

Once you find a law pending before Congress that interests you, read the bill and answer these questions.

  1. What is the name of the bill?  What is the resolution number of the bill  (e.g., HR 212)?
  2. Does the bill you selected create a new law or amend an existing law?
  3. If this bill is passed, how will it change current employment law? Be specific here and include enough detail so that someone reading your answer really understanding the bill under consideration.
  4. State whether you agree or disagree with the bill.  If you were a member of Congress would you vote for it?  Explain why.

This section of your paper should be about 1 to 2 pages.

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